After a 3-2 defeat at Arsenal, Erik Ten Hag’s side’s title challenge began and ended that week.
Maybe not this season. The Gunners are 11 points adrift of Arsenal and have a game in hand, which should close the gap. But Erik ten Hag and his Manchester United side will bounce back from that to end their 10-game unbeaten run and their first defeat since October.
In the end, they really missed Casemiro. Scott McTominay’s hooves can’t replace the Brazilian’s ability to find his teammates with the right pass.
It was a little better when Fred came in too late. In games like these, Arsenal need the kind of contribution that Arsenal can provide from Oleksandr Zinchenko, a leader, winner and four-time champion.
Yes, United beat Arsenal at Old Trafford without him. But here at the Emirates, it’s a different story and a reminder that the Reds need more depth. More exchange windows. Better quality if you want to get back to the top.
Despite all the optimism of 21 wins in 29 games in all competitions this season, United have melted away in tough times and had a chance to end this season’s title race.
Yes, there are plenty of moments here where they make Red’s heart skip a beat. Not least when Marcus Rashford scored his 20th goal for club and country this season and his ninth in his last nine games.
In a congested penalty area, Lisandro Martinez stooped to level the score at 2-2. Even then, David de Gea was able to get away from Bukayo Saka’s ferocious attack and make up for it with a superb save from man-of-the-match Eddie Nketiah.
But United were too light in midfield. Here’s the big picture: It’s two games in a row since United conceded too late. A week of six points against Palace and Arsenal is a reminder that they need more.
The Spurs should be worried. There is turmoil at the moment and the north London side are ready to make a big bid for Harry Kane, who has a year left on his contract. Bring him in this month, bench Wieghorst and welcome back Casemiro, and United will suddenly be shaking for the rest of the season.
However, the reality is that they are still another transfer window away from the big time. Reading about the FA Cup on Saturday should be a formality at home.
Forest did the same in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup (don’t kid yourself). But this is the Premier League where Ten Hag need to step up.
It’s home games against Crystal Palace and Leeds where United need to rediscover their mojo. Last week’s pain should give them all the motivation they need.